What to know before getting lash extensions

Today, I’m absolutely restless. I’m sitting at an empty reception desk (my new morning gig) waiting to go on a company Summer fun trip to Lagoon. I’ve never been, but one of the super nice girls from work convinced me. So, in spite of not being able to find a plus one, I’m going. Besides, after so many Friday nights of reading and watching Pretty Little Liars by my lonesome I’m practically obligated to do something with other human beings.

So, let’s get to it. Deciding to try eyelash extensions can be a little scary for someone getting them for the first time. There’s a lot of information out there and some of it, to be quite honest, makes it sound pretty scary.

Often, I end up relaying the same information to new potential clients and curious friends. So, I thought it would be good to have a place to send people who were interested. Here’s the basic information you’ll need to know when deciding whether or not lash extensions are right for you. Some of it is specific to me, but a lot is very general and it could help you think of some questions to ask your own extensionist:

Q: So, what exactly are lash extensions? How do they work?

Lash extensions involve using tweezers to separate one lash from those around it, taking an individual mink or synthetic lash coated in glue, and laying it on top of the natural lash.

If you’d like to see a video of it, check out this one. It’s not my video, and there are plenty of others to be found around the web, but I thought it gave a pretty good overview. The service starts at about 1:50, but be warned, there is a lot of creepy spa music and awkward mime-hands before that.

Q: How long does it take?

While lash extensions are not terribly complicated, they are time consuming. A full set takes about 1 1/2 hours, but for new clients I like to schedule 2 hours to be safe. If it’s something you’d like to keep up in the future, lash fills usually last between 45 – 60 minutes.

Q: How long do they last?

Under perfect conditions, the lashes can last about 5 – 6 weeks. Clients who keep them up usually schedule a monthly appointment.

Q: I have sensitive skin. Is the glue going to jack my eyeballs up?

The adhesive’s active ingredient is cyano acrylate which is the same thing used in sutureless wound closure. If you know that you have a sensitivity to it you may not be the best candidate for lash extensions.

I also use these under-eye pads to hold your lower lashes down. They have vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and a bunch of other nourishing eye-treatment type ingredients on them. I typically don’t have issues with them, but the pads can cause irritation for clients with sensitive skin. If you’re worried at all about having a reaction, just let me (or your extensionist) know before you start.


Come with no makeup on your eyes: This is a big one and can really cut into the time I have to spend actually gluing the lashes on. It can take a while to get even a modest amount of makeup off and even a little mascara could mean the adhesive not lasting as long. Feel free to bring some makeup for touch-ups afterward if you’d like.

You can wear your contacts. But, if they tend to make your eyes water, you might go for the glasses instead.

It’s good to use the restroom before starting the procedure. I’ll explain why a little later.

I would say, either turn your phone on silent or keep it within arms reach. The Murphy’s Law of Lash Extensions states that as soon as you’re no longer allowed to open your eyes, your phone is gonna blow up like the 4th of July. Let your significant other know that you’re getting your lashes done and that it takes a little while so that they aren’t calling you non-stop about a milk emergency.*


You won’t be allowed to open your eyes. The adhesive gives off fumes as it dries that can make your eyes water, which can mean your lashes won’t last as long. If your eyes are exposed to the fumes for a long period of time they can even slightly burn the corneas leaving your eyes susceptible to infection. Not cute. If you need to open your eyes to return a text or go to the restroom or anything, we’ll have to dry them for about 2 minutes before I can let you up.


It takes 24 hours for the glue to cure, so avoid tears, sweat, steam, and don’t shower for that time.

Don’t swim for about 48 hours after. Swimmers tend to like lash extensions because they don’t have to worry about reapplying makeup after a workout but the chemicals in pool water can compromise the adhesive. If you plan on swimming, get a sealer to use every other day to keep your lashes as long as possible.

Oils will break down the adhesive’s bonds faster so don’t use mascara  or other oil-based eye makeup. Always use a water-based makeup remover.

Be gentle with them. Don’t rub your eyes or use a mechanical eyelash curler.

So, that’s about it 🙂 I love doing lashes on new clients because the before and after are so dramatic! But at the same time, even for some people who love them, keeping them up can be a bit of an investment in time and money. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s something you want to maintain or not.

*A milk emergency is apparently a real thing. One client’s husband called her six times because they were out of milk and he needed her to pick some up, like, immediately for some reason.


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